RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina’s Attorney General is asking e-cigarette makers to butt out of his state.
“We simply cannot have another generation of young people addicted to nicotine.”
Those are the words of North Carolina A-G Josh Stein after he filed suit against 8 more e-cig makers for targetting teens across the Tar Heel state.
“Bathrooms aren’t called bathrooms anymore they’re called vape rooms,” said Stein. “There is a vaping epidemic among high schoolers and middle schoolers across North Carolina and the United States.”
Attorney General Stein says flavors such as french toast, bubble gum, and gummy bear are marketed directly to teens online but his claims don’t stop there.
“They altered the chemical composition in order to make it easier for virgin throats to inhale their products,” said Stein.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently linked vaping to 149 possible cases of severe lung disease in 15 states, including North Carolina.
“We simply have no idea what the long term health implications of these products are,” said Stein. “People who are using them are essentially turning themselves into guinea pigs.”
While Stein continues legal discussions with companies like Juul on reducing the number of flavors to tobacco and menthol, he says he’s concerned about the future of teens who have already gotten hooked.
“It changes the neural pathways of the brain to foster addiction,” said Stein. “Addiction not just to nicotine, but to make that child much more likely to use cigarettes, become addicted to alcohol, to use cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin, and opioids.”
Stein says he supports calls to change the legal age to purchase e-cig and tobacco products from 18 to 21, but bills aimed at making that change have failed in the legislature.